Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Wowsah, what a year in melodic music! Not so fast… that’s actually not praise. With singsong nursery rhyme one-line choruses and gimmick-filled hip-hop pervading the airwaves, 2015 proffered tough love. Last year, I discovered a hopeful muse—Ariana Grande—whose momentous melodies accompany effortless vocals that can be recreated live. This young lady delivered my No.1 single of 2014, “Love Me Harder,” f/The Weeknd. In 2015, I rewound and discovered her previous hits, which sustained me through the current pop tundra.
In 2015, Ariana Grande again leads the Taylor Top 50 countdown with her infectious dance hit “Break Free,” f/Zedd. She joins four other acts who have scored consecutive year-end No. 1’s on the TT50 since 1981: Sheena Easton, Celine Dion, Adele and Jon Secada.
There’s more to the story: Ariana owns an unprecedented SEVEN among the top 10 slots this year. While I respect her talent, she’s not yet a member of the historic pantheon commandeered by Sheena and Celine. Rather, her standing is a testament to how few competitors Ari had in 2015… Not to whine like the ole man I am, but I found many of 2015’s radio hits reminiscent of another era’s MC Hammer or Puff Daddy. In my book, “All About That Bass” is the millennial “Macarena.”
Back to Ariana, because with 12 titles in my top 50, she is certainly more than a “default.” Listen to her walloping soprano in the joyous “One Last Time,” alongside delicate accompaniment with Andrea Bocelli in “E Più Ti Penso” and commanding heartache in ballad “Just A Little Bit of Your Heart.” There ain’t nothing this 23yo can’t do.
My 2015 Best New Artist is Tori Kelly—Grammy-nominated for the same title—whose “Nobody Love” is No. 2, because I spun it nearly every damn day all year. She also places “Should’ve Been Us” at No. 24 and “Hollow” at No. 31. Tori’s stellar lead in a “Joy of Pepsi” commercial was so fun that it lands at No. 58.
Among other female vocalists, Adele roars in at No. 3 with the ubiquitous “Hello”—after back-to-back year-end No. 1’s: “Skyfall” in 2012 and “Set Fire to the Rain” in 2011. Jessie J returns with two hits: “Flashlight” and “Masterpiece,” after sharing No. 5 in 2014 with Ariana Grande via “Bang Bang.”
Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” would have been my No. 2 for the year, given the millions of times I played it… however, it already placed at No. 7 in 2014. Swiftie grazes this year’s countdown with “Style” at No. 44, “Wildest Dreams” at No. 53 and “New Romantics” at No. 59. And how about Mariah Carey making a return at No. 10 with a cut from 1997’s “Butterfly” that I heard on SiriusXM? ”Whenever You Call” is everything we used to love about the siren when she created beautiful melodies.
Nick Jonas is the highest-charting male solo act, with “Chains” at No. 11, which succeeds his 2014 No. 10 “Jealous.” And U.K. indie act Junior Turner returns for the third consecutive year with No. 12 “Guardian Angel.” Last year, this beloved and consistent singer/songwriter prevailed with a chart-trumping five top 50 hits, including No. 2 “Save Me.”
And hey, hey, Celine Dion is back after a two-year absence with her tear-inducing live AMA’s tribute to the Paris terrorist attacks. Her reading of Edith Piaf’s “Hymne a l'Amour” embodies all that makes Celine the most successful artist in TTT history. But you already knew that.
The worst of the year? Yeah you, Fetty Wap. Remember wildly popular novelties cum implosions Iggy Azalea and Kesha? Enjoy it, dude… quickly. And I still can't understand the appeal of Nicki Minaj or Meghan Trainor. On that note, 2015 is a wrap, cool cats. Thanks for reading!